Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield led a delegation of Alabama business leaders on a trade mission to Germany this week, resuming the strategic trips to overseas commercial hubs that have helped state-based companies explore new markets and partnership opportunities.
The journey to Munich and nearby Augsburg is the Alabama Department of Commerce’s first trade and business development mission since before the pandemic, when an Alabama team traveled to the United Arab Emirates in September 2019.
The mission began Sunday and lasted through Wednesday.
Commerce’s Office of International Trade teamed with the U.S. Commercial Service to organize the mission, which focused on providing international opportunities to minority-owned Alabama companies by allowing them to meet with potential European partners.
Companies were supported in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Alabama team also participated in the 11th installment of the EU-US Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Best Practices Workshop in Augsburg. The event was aimed at enhancing trade and investment opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.
The theme of this year’s workshop was “SME’s Rising: Recovery Together on Both Sides of the Atlantic.”
“Through our Office of International Trade, we are leading the charge to ensure that Alabama companies are directly connected to the resources they need to access foreign markets and develop export opportunities,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“We are committed to strengthening Alabama’s international ecosystem and working with our trade partners on every level to foster a healthy climate for international business,” he added.
The Alabama team arrived Sunday in Munich, the capital of Bavaria and a global center of technology, finance, innovation and science. The team attended a welcome dinner sponsored by Export Alabama on Sunday and engaged in business meetings on Monday, before traveling to Augsburg.
Wednesday’s SME workshop in Bavaria’s third largest city featured discussions on topics including trade opportunities, pandemic transition strategies and access to financing, as well as offering business networking opportunities.
Alabama companies that sent representatives on the trade mission include:
- Gene Capture, a biotechnology company based in Huntsville that is developing a portable technology for identifying infections
- BLOC Global Group, a professional services firm in Birmingham that specializes in corporate real estate and infrastructure project delivery
- Domestique, an EV hospitality company dedicated to creating refined user experiences through well-crafted consumable products in order to fight climate change
- Adah International, an industrial engineering and project management services firm based in Birmingham
- ASHIPA Electric Limited, a Birmingham firm that is developing power microgrid management software
CONNECTIONS TO GERMANY
Alabama’s business ties to Germany are very strong. German companies have invested nearly $10 billion in Alabama since 1999, and the European country is a top trade partner for the state. Alabama opened a business development office in Stuttgart in 2019.
Christina Stimpson, director of Commerce’s Office of International Trade, said the trade mission represented an opportunity for Alabama businesses to identify new growth opportunities to strengthen the future of their enterprises.
“This trade mission is about helping Alabama companies open new doors, explore new markets and make new connections in one of the world’s most vibrant economies,” Stimpson said.
“We are constantly working to ensure that all Alabama companies understand the opportunities that exist in foreign markets and that foreign companies understand the opportunities Alabama can offer,” she added.
(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)